Putting up prices, but doing it the right way

COMMENT: Collaborative approach is to the benefit of patients

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Parking charges at hospitals is nothing if not a hot potato.

Obviously, people whose loved ones are being treated, whether long-term, or for an emergency, want to be with them as much as possible.

But they don’t want to have to pay punitive charges for the privilege.

Which is why it’s welcome to see that Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham is taking a sensible approach to increasing its charges.

Yes, in an ideal word, it wouldn’t be happening, but they are certainly not alone in putting up prices.

But, as we’ve reported previously, it certainly gets under people’s skin if they feel like it goes too far.

This time, the firm behind the rise, construction company Carillion, has tempered the move by promising the new rate – £1.80 for 90 minutes – will be frozen for two years.

And it seems to have judged it well as one of its harshest critics Kristine Impey, who collected more than 1,000 signatures against a price hike the last time the prices were put up, is happy.

As she says: ‘It’s a shame the charges still apply, but I feel we were listened to and the petition went some way to protect prices.’

That’s a great positive and shows that even the harshest critics can be won round with dialogue and sensible decisions.

And it’s something some other organisations could learn a little from before imposing changes that leave users out of pocket.

It’s simple business sense that means charges and prices move up with inflation and time.

But there are good and bad ways of going about it, and this is certainly on the positive side.

So things will stay the same for two years and we can only hope the same judgement is applied next time round.

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